English and Gender(s)

Sander   Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:23 pm GMT
A while ago, Adamn claimed that English had 3 Genders.Is this true,partially true or false?
Real Deal   Wed Sep 14, 2005 12:30 pm GMT
off topic hey Sander does ur nick have to do anything with the SAND word? Alike work - worker?
Sander   Wed Sep 14, 2005 1:03 pm GMT
What? LOL No, it's my name.
Sander   Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:24 pm GMT
Yeh but when I say 'TEACHER' you have no idea what gender she or he is. Right?
Candy   Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:27 pm GMT
Damn right you can't tell the gender, which suits me fine. I don't like it that in German I have to be a 'Lehrerin'. Why is it important to call me a female teacher? I'm just a teacher!
Sander   Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:38 pm GMT
I guess it's nice not to have to think of that I guess :-) point is , English doesn't use it.The fact that English uses personal pronouns like 'he and she' doesn't really mean they know a gender let alon think about it.
Candy   Wed Sep 14, 2005 4:45 pm GMT
I really like the fact that in English you can say 'my partner' without having to say if it's a man or woman. OK, usually it becomes obvious from the personal pronouns you use, but it gives people a chance to be more private about their private life if they want to.
Real Deal   Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:33 pm GMT
I thought if you dont care for the proper pronunciation I could not try that hard
Candy   Wed Sep 14, 2005 5:38 pm GMT
I don't care about Russian pronunciation.
I care very much about proper ENGLISH pronunciation.
Uriel   Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:48 pm GMT
Using he/she/it for things that really ARE hes, shes, and its is not the same as grammatical gender in other languages --- I don't care how much people argue that it is. When I took Spanish and (briefly) French, that was the most alien idea in the world, that inanimate objects had to be arbitrarily male or female.
Candy   Wed Sep 14, 2005 6:57 pm GMT
Has anybody read the book 'Me talk pretty one day' by David Sedaris? There's a few chapters detailing his experiences of learning French in Paris, and his amazement that French awards gender to inanimate objects, things that he'd always assumed were neuter.
(There's a hilarious bit where some of the students try to explain the concept of Easter to a Muslim, without knowing any of the vital words like 'crucifixion', 'resurrection' or 'sins'!)

I can remember this feeling of 'huh??' myself, when I started learning French.
Uriel   Wed Sep 14, 2005 7:30 pm GMT
I read that book -- I HAVE that book, sitting on the table not five feet away -- and it is hysterical! And his tales of French class -- and his evil French teacher -- almost made me pee in my pants. The battle of the bell vs. the bunny especially.
JJM   Wed Sep 14, 2005 8:59 pm GMT
You're all thinking in English so, you're confusing gender with sex of course and you're therefore judging French by your own language biases.

Any native French speaker knows that a table is feminine even though they also know it's not female. The French two-gender system does not make that language any more complicated than English for a native speaker.

A tough concept for an English speaker perhaps, but one which any French speaker simply takes for granted.
Sander   Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:02 pm GMT
With Dutch we have 3 genders, but the preposition for Male and Female is the same (de).

Like JJM said it's a way of thinking...
greg   Wed Sep 14, 2005 9:02 pm GMT
Sander : « Ouais mais quand je dis 'PROF' tu n'as aucune idée du genre de ce(tte) prof. Non ? »

Tu n'as certes aucune idée du ***SEXE*** de cette personne, mais tu connais le genre du substantif la désignant : neutre faible (masculin ou féminin). Ce neutre faible n'est pas marqué : il n'y a pas de suffixation particulière qui permette de l'identifier moprhologiquement. Mais ça ne pose pas de problème : l'anglais est (presque) dépourvu de système de ***MARQUAGE*** des genres grammaticaux (à part <empress> etc).

Merci de ta remarque, Sander, car on peut donc considérer 4 genres grammaticaux non-marqués en anglais :
1/ le neutre fort (ni féminin, ni masculin) : the house > it
2/ le féminin : the girl > she
3/ le masculin : the man > he
4/ le neutre faible (féminin ou masculin) : teacher > he ou she.